28 March 2011

Accomplishing Multiple Objectives

Continuing with More Capablanca, the followup to a series on
Capablanca's Games 'To be studied very carefully', the position I discussed in Did Capablanca See What the Engine Sees?, turns out to be more double-edged than the one-sided position in the diagram, where the players have just swapped Rooks on d1. Capablanca played 37...Qd4, and wrote, 'The winning move. The student should, from now on, examine the ending move by move.'

New York 1913
Capablanca, J.R.

Kline, Harry
After 37.Ne3-d1(xR)

The most interesting aspect of the position is the winning procedure, since Capablanca's moves all fit into a straightforward, sequential plan. The centralizing move 37...Qd4 accomplishes at least three tactical objectives:-

  • The Queen attacks the Pawn on c4;
  • it threatens ...Qa1+ with mate if White is unable to defend the back rank; and
  • it attacks g1, confining the White King to the corner.

It's no coincidence that I used two positions from Capablanca in my chess tutorial Maximize the Usefulness of Your Moves. His games are full of examples where one move accomplishes multiple objectives. In the present game, the attack on c4 is particularly strong because Black is able to undermine the Pawn chain that protects the Pawn.

White continued 38.Nf2, threatening to remove the Pawn on h3 which traps the King on corner. Capablanca ignored the threat with 38...b5 39.cxb5 axb3 40.axb3 Bxb3, weakening White's remaining Queenside Pawn. Since White can't play 41.bxc6??, because of 41...Qa1+, the game continuation 41.Nxh3 is the best try. Now 41...Bc4 should win, but the Cuban played the flashier 41...Bd1, when after 42.Qf1 cxb5, White can't play 43.Qxb5, because of the mate on f3.

White was unable to stop the march of the b-Pawn to promotion, tried to get a perpetual check by sacrificing the Knight for a couple of Black's Kingside Pawns, failed to achieve that, and resigned. Was there another player who could make chess look as easy as Capablanca did?

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Later: This was one of the posts appearing in Chess Blog Carnival IV: Omelette Edition.

1 comment:

Harvey Kelly said...

Wonderful stuff. I'll re-post at my blog with a link to your page if you don't mind? (If you do, let me know and I'll take it down.)